I’m back from a couple of weeks away in eastern Ohio, where my wife grew up and where my in-laws live. It was a great time. Eastern Ohio is a beautiful place–rolling hills and pretty farmland, Amish country, the Cuyahoga Valley. But I’m glad to be back. While away, I experienced a little of Abby’s life growing as a preacher’s kid. Her dad is a UM pastor in the East Ohio Annual Conference. She grew up going to Lakeside–a community on Lake Erie near the town of Marblehead, Ohio–with her family for their Annual Conference meeting in June. Until going with her this year, I had a hard time imagining what it would be like. She spoke of what fun the clergy kids had riding bikes and playing together at Annual Conference. Our meetings are held in a large church in Houston. We’ve recently moved our meetings to The Woodlands UMC just north of Houston, who do a good job of providing activities for younger children, but it is still a suburb, and not a retreat facility. By contrast, at Lakeside we spent everyday taking the kids to the park, the pier, a cool little downtown with shops and eating spots, and for walks along a lakeside path.
I now see why Abby has such great memories of attending Annual Conference as a kid and hope to make Lakeside a tradition for our family as well.